I agree with Debbie. Livingston has the best combination of size of town (so you have a lot to choose from), proximity to NYC and high quality of schools. Other towns with great stats are Madison, Chatham, Florham Park and the Hanovers. I am happy to expand on this - call me at 201-981-0373.
Another great town you may have overlooked, with excellent schools and a good commute to East Hanover and train service to Hoboken/NYC, is Glen Ridge. Last year, 18 homes with 2-5 bedrooms and 2 baths, sold between 350k-$515k. None of these were short sales or foreclosures. There is also a small townhouse community in Glen Ridge where homes sell in your price range.
If you would like any additional information regarding the area or would like me to send you listings of available Glen Ridge homes, please contact me.
There is a jitney service from the Livingston Mall to the Midtown direct train into Manhattan........giving commuters more options than the bus or driving to Harrison to take the Path train.
If the idea of a town house interests you, check out The Regency in Livingston - a gated community that is in your price range, and offers a pool and tennis plus a number of elegant amenities.
Honestly, you will have very limited inventory/options in Millburn/Short Hills & Summit in the $400-500,000 range.
I can't help you with Bergen County, though........you may need an agent who covers that area, and one who covers Essex/Morris Counties, as I do.........
In regard to short sales, unless you have a lot of time to wait (or waste), depending on the situation, I'd avoid short sales.
Foreclosures aren't necessarily a bargain as the condition of the home might be in question....and......there aren't a lot of those listings in the towns you mentioned (that I cover).
Please reach out to me with questions, or check my website, which has some links on town information you might find useful.
Good luck! I'd be happy to help!
Prudential NJ Properties
Regarding the foreclosure/Short Sales are concerned it is a very difficult process and very time intensive, if you are able to stay away from this you would be better off with a cleaner and easier purchase process.
If you would like further information or would like to discuss the various options please feel free to contact me. I have been a realtor in the area for over 18 years and have been a life long resident.
Rochelle Dempsey ABR,SRES,GRI
Lois Schneider Realtor
431 Springfield Ave.
Summit, NJ 07901
Amy Paternite/Coldwell Banker
You may consider New Providence/ Berkeley Heights, Chatham, Madison, Livingston and Florham Park as well. How soon are you looking to purchase and when are you available to view homes?
Feel free to call or email me for more info.